Ok, so let’s talk about the quick match and how it works.
I am really not 100% sure yet how I feel about the match making system in Total War. Coming from my online experience in Warcraft 3 and Starcraft Broodwar and SC2 this is still new. Now, in other RTS games you would pick your race and lock it in, from there you will receive a random opponent and you would have to make the best of what you have.
This system feels quite good to me and also it works. Not knowing what your opponent is playing adds a little something extra to the game that really helps so that people cannot simply counter pick your army. That being said, Total war does not allow you to choose a specific build order, nor does it allow you to build certain units or formulate counter strategies. My experience in RTS games has always been about learning build orders and executing them properly, learning how to identify your opponents plan and countering it. Learning which timing attacks work against which race and then executing them. So, armed with strategies and build orders, planning ahead and executing timing attacks have always been the order of the day.
Now let’s look at Total War.
You do not build a base, you cannot execute timing attacks, you cannot change your army from what you chose and you do not have the flexibility to change your army layout.
This for me is hard. Now, I have played numerous hours of Warhammer 40k and some Warhammer Fantacy before. This does help a little bit, however if you are going to a tournament it still leaves you in the same position that you would have been with other RTS games. You do not know what armies you will face and thus you were forced to to build an army that would cover all angles. This led to interessting and often close matchups. I did enjoy the system because there was atleast still a level of predicability in the game. Due to the meta in your area you are able to fairly accurately guess the armies that would be there and prepare for them. The same concept applied to Magic the gathering.
That being my experience in RTS and other strategy games, it is understandable that a game such as Total War would be quite a different beast to saddle.
My experience in Total War so far:
I am really enjoying the game, yet I do struggle quite a bit right now.
a Common thing that happens to me is when entering a game from the quick match menu you instantly walk into a Mexican stand-off. What I mean by this is that none of my opponents are willing to pick their race for the game until I have made my selection and at that time they will switch to whatever race they feel the most comfortable with in regards to the race that I may have selected. This is in a way, a flew in the game as it does not neccesarily lead to fair games. However Creative assembly should be commeded as I think they have found a relative fix to the problem. If you select your race and click ready, then a minute countdown starts. At this point you can actually click the ready button again which unlocks your army so that you can still tailor it until the minute runs down. This is a good thing and I have to say that from my perspective this has made the problem of counter picking a lot less annoying and one sided.
The second problem I face in quick battles is because I can see my opponents army choice before the game it really messes with my mind. Here it become a prediction game, where you could setup a counter army against what you expect the opponents army would look like, however you could guess wrong and this leads to a quick and fast defeat. It is somewhat troublesome, but it think it adds an additional level of complexity that the game might require to keep it interessting.
All in all I think CA should be commended on their Quick Battle setup and how it runs. Yes, I am still new to this kind of strategy game, however I think there were initially a few flaws with the system that they have been able to adress in an appropriate manner without removing complexity and disicion making from the process.
All things said and done, the quick batlle will never be 100% balanced and I also don’t think it will ever be able to exist without perhpas an element of luck.
However if you understand the game and you know your army in and out, then perhaps luck will favour the prepared and you should be able to use the meta game as a guide to at least gain a respectable win rate.
Do you guys agree or disagree with my current feelings regarding the quick battle setup?